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Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Cream of Asparagus 1

(Looking for healthy dessert recipes, or tips for how to eat deliciously on a budget? Then check out my e-books here.)

I wholeheartedly believe that if you can read, you can learn to cook.

However, I appreciate that preparing food is intimidating and daunting for some people. Plus, the popularity of gourmet cooking shows has left many of us feeling insecure about what we create. There’s no need to be Martha Stewart, people.

For those of you who still feel inept in the kitchen, this soup is foolproof. I mean, it’s basically got three ingredients (salt and water not included). You really can’t mess it up.

You’re making this. No excuses.

Easy Cream of Asparagus Soup
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, egg-free, five ingredients or less

3/4 cup chopped onion
1 bunch of asparagus (about 12-15 spears)
1/4 cup cashews, soaked for a few hours and drained
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups of water

In a few tablespoons of water, sauté the onions for a few minutes until they soften. Add the asparagus and two cups of water, then simmer until the vegetables are tender – about 20 minutes.

Put the vegetables, cashews and salt in a blender and whirl until smooth (be careful blending hot liquids). Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, or add more water if you’d like a thinner consistency.

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Mint Smoothie 1

When I was growing up, my Grandpa brought us Baskin Robbins every single Wednesday night. We were never allowed to actually eat it when he arrived. This wasn’t parental torture – it was too late in the evening to eat ice cream, so we enjoyed it on Thursday nights for dessert.

I always chose the same flavour: mint chocolate chip. Chocolate and mint has always held a magical pull on me.

I have dreamy, fond memories of Baskin Robbins, but now I realize that its mint chocolate chip ice cream is filled with corn syrup, artificial flavours and my ultimate nemesis carrageenan – a thickener that aggravates symptoms of IBD.

This smoothie is like drinking my childhood. Minty, chocolatey heaven. Decadent? Yup. But in the best possible way, because it bathes you in healing nutrients.

Spinach is like eating a multivitamin, avocado is packed with good fats, peppermint aids digestion and cacao nibs flood you with antioxidants. This isn’t a smoothie you’d eat every day, but it was the perfect weekend treat.

What childhood favourite would you like to recreate?

Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie
gluten-free,dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, egg-free

1/2 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup water
large fistful of spinach (about 1 lightly packed cup)
1/2 an avocado
1 drop of food grade peppermint oil
sweetener to taste (I used dates)
1 tbsp cacao nibs or vegan chocolate chips  (I used both!)

Put the coconut milk, water, spinach, avocado, peppermint and sweetener into a blender and blend until smooth.

Stir in the chocolate by hand.

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Broccoli Bites 2

(Looking for healthy dessert recipes, or tips for how to eat deliciously on a budget? Then check out my e-books here.)

Basil is one of those herbs I don’t use enough. It has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, along with a healthy dose of nutrients that fight pesky free radicals. Sounds like a super-herb to me.

My husband didn’t like these because he thought the basil came on too strong, but that is exactly why I found these surprisingly delightful. I was expecting an overwhelming broccoli flavour – which would have been awesome – and ended up with sweet, fragrant basil highlights.

Eat these on their own as a snack, fold them into a wrap or plop them onto your salad for an extra protein boost. Want to elevate the deliciousness factor? Daub them with my new obsession: roasted garlic tahini sauce. You won’t regret it.

Broccoli Basil Bean Bites
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, grain-free, five ingredients or less

2 cups cooked cannelini beans
2 crowns of broccoli, chopped finely (about 3 cups)
1/4 cup basil, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

Note: you can make this recipe without a food processor. Just finely chop the broccoli and mash the beans with a fork or potato masher. You’ll need a little more elbow grease, but you can get ‘er done.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a food processor, finely chop the broccoli, then set it aside.

Place the beans in the processor and pulse them until they are well mashed, but still have some texture to them.

Add the broccoli, basil, salt and nutritional yeast (if you’re using it) to the processor and pulse everything together. You may need a tablespoon or two of water to bring everything together.

Using a tablespoon measure, scoop the mixture onto a prepared baking sheet and flatten slightly into patties.

Bake for 20-24 minutes, until patties are firm and lightly golden on the outside. They will harden as they cool.

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Lentil Dip 2

Somewhere on the internet, I read the secret to creating ultra-creamy hummus is blending the liquids with tahini before adding the beans.

I wish I could remember whose blog it was that enlightened me, so I could give her due credit. Because this tip changed. my. life.

Yes. Changed my life. Other people are transformed by their first love or giving birth to children, while my world is rocked by new and innovative kitchen tips.

This isn’t the most attractive looking dish, with its ghastly gray-ish hues. But I know your taste buds will love the luxurious and creamy texture, while your insides will adore the protein, fibre and minerals.

Do you have any unusual kitchen tips to tell me about?

Creamy Lentil Dip
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, five ingredients or less

2 cups cooked green lentils (this is about 1/2 cup dried)
1/2 cup water, or more as needed
1/4 cup tahini
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 small cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt, or to taste

In a food processor or blender, combine the tahini, water and lemon juice. Blend until the mixture is smooth.

Add the cooked lentils, garlic and salt, then process again until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

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Chocolate Chili 2

Dark chocolate and chili is an extremely popular combination used for both sweet and savory dishes, especially in Mexican food. While I’ve sampled the pairing a number of times, it’s not something I’ve ever felt compelled to use in my own cooking.

Maybe I was waiting for the right kind of chocolate?

I used to be a milk chocolate junkie. The milkier, the better. And dark chocolate was evil.

As I transitioned off of refined sugar, I developed a taste for dark chocolate. I’m no chocolate snob, but now I find it hard to tolerate bars that have less than 70% cocoa solids, because all I can taste is the sugar and not the rich, deep chocolatey flavour.

For my recent birthday, my best friend Jen bought me a chocolate mint maca bar made by Zazubean, a local brand I’d never heard of before. I was immediately smitten (with the chocolate, that is. I fell in love with Jen more than 10 years ago). Then I picked up Zazubean’s cacao nib and vanilla bar and thought it would be a perfect match with chili.

And it was! I loved the mix of spicy chipotle flavour and chocolate, along with the little extra crunch from the cacao nibs. You can use any kind of chocolate you like, of course, and increase the level of spiciness, too (you all know I’m a wimp).

What’s your favourite way to meld chocolate and chili? Share recipe ideas in the comments!

Chipotle Chocolate Chili
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, egg-free

1 onion, finely diced
4-6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups cooked kidney beans
1 red pepper, chopped
1 small sweet potato, diced
1 tbsp chili powder, or to taste
1 chipotle pepper, finely chopped (or more, if you like it spicy)
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
50 grams dark chocolate, chopped (I used Zazubean’s Nakid bar)
salt to taste

In a pot over medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic in a bit of water until softened. Add the red pepper, and stir for a minute or two.

Add the remaining ingredients, except for the chocolate, and simmer for at least an hour, until the vegetables are tender and the flavours have melded.

If using a slow cooker (which is what I did), put the onions, garlic and red pepper mixture into the crock and add the rest of the ingredients, except for the chocolate. Cook on low for about six hours, until the vegetables are tender.

When the chili is ready to serve, spoon it into bowls and add a few tablespoons of chopped chocolate to each bowl. Stir the chocolate in (it will melt pretty quickly). If you’re feeling extra generous, top the bowls with an additional square of chocolate.

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Coconut Chips 3

I have no words.

Except for ‘make these’.

That’s all.

Toasted Coconut Chips
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, egg-free, five ingredients or less

3 cups wide coconut flakes
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 tbsp water

Note: Though the chips look a little toasty in the photo above, remember that coconut sugar is brown, which accounts for much of the dark colour. They are not burnt!

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Put the coconut flakes in a large bowl.

In a small pot over low heat, melt the applesauce, coconut sugar and water until it becomes syrupy.

Pour the liquid over the coconut flakes and gently toss until all the flakes are coated. Some of them may break as you stir – that’s okay.

Spread the flakes onto a prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 6 to 8 minutes or so, until the chips are dry and crispy. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.

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Tahini Sauce 1

As I wrote in this post about granola, tahini is typically a side-note flavour, rather than the main attraction.

And to tell you the truth, I prefer it that way most of the time. Tahini has a lovely nuttiness, but it can also be a little bitter, too.

During my recent trip to Israel, where they use tahini in almost everything, I began to develop a love for tahini on its own. That’s why I created this delectable tahini sauce – it’s a gentle, smoky blend of sweet roasted garlic and earthy sesame-ness.

I’ve been using this sauce on everything. It’s wonderful spread thickly on toast or dolloped on veggies, and if you add additional water it’s a fantastic salad dressing.

Sesame seeds are an outstanding plant-based source of calcium, too, and they have a range of other beneficial minerals like iron, magnesium and copper. That means dairy can suck it. Right?

Roasted Garlic Tahini Sauce
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, five ingredients or less

1 bulb of roasted garlic
1/2 cup sesame tahini
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
hot water to blend, as needed

To roast your garlic, cut off the top of the bulb, drizzle with olive oil, and wrap in foil. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes (time will vary based on the size of your bulb).

Squeeze the innards out of the garlic bulb, and mix with the tahini, lemon juice and salt. Whisk well until everything is incorporated.

If the mixture is too thick, add hot water a tablespoon at a time to dilute it. I used about six tablespoons to get the consistency I liked.

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